1 Corinthians 15

1 Corinthians 15  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
After giving the order of ministry for the saints, worship, and practical order in the assembly (as given in previous chapters), the apostle took up the important subject of the resurrection which had been denied by some. He proceeded to prove the resurrection to those who doubted.
The enemy is subtle, and if he is not able to turn the saints aside by one sin, he resorts to another, in this case stirring up disbelief in the resurrection out from among the dead.
According to that teaching, that the dead rise not, we who are believers would be of all men most miserable. We thereby would lose the present and have nothing to look forward to after this life.
The apostle began with the gospel to prove the truth of resurrection. He had already given to them by revelation how "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."
This should be sufficient for faith, but he continued his proof-Cephas (Peter) and the twelve had seen Him after the resurrection (Luke 24). Following this He was seen of more than five hundred brethren at once, probably at the time of His ascension forty days after His resurrection, of whom a large number were still alive when Paul wrote this letter. Then "He was seen of James; then of all the apostles." Last of all He was seen of Paul on the Damascus road, as one who was born before his time.
What we gather from this (Paul being a Jew) is that the blessings of the millennial day for the Jew will come after the first resurrection. The Jews who were saved, such as Paul, were brought into the Church before the millennial day and so will be part of the first resurrection, of which the future Jewish nation will have no part.
Paul did not consider himself fit to be an apostle because of persecuting the Church of God. To make such an one an apostle magnifies the grace of God, and to use him as a delineation (pattern) for those who should after believe was even greater grace.
It is to be remarked that grace had a tremendous effect upon the apostle, in that he labored more than all, through the grace of God. It would be good if grace had this effect upon us. What a waste to spend our lives for self when there are such rewards for faithfulness.
If none rise from the dead, then Christ is not risen; what use is there to preach if the dead rise not! The believer is still in his sins if Christ is not risen, and those who have died have perished.
Christ, having risen, is "the firstfruits of them that slept." Firstfruits means more than being first, it means that Christ has the power of life in His own person. This power is used to bring His own out of death into life. If the first man, Adam, led his race into death, the last Adam will lead His new race into life by resurrection. The order is, "Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming."
There will still be 1000 years after the resurrection, and time will end at the close of the millennial day. The millennial period will be the time when Christ will complete the gathering together of all things to Himself. All who are believers will be gathered together, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, gathered "even in Him." All of those who have died in unbelief will be consigned to the lake of fire, at the great white throne. There also will be the annulling of all power and authority given at creation by Christ as Creator to creatures such as angels and later to men.
Christ gathers all together to Himself so he can give all to the Father, that God may be "all in all."
The term Father suggests that God has taken a new position of nearness to all creation, angels, and men.
Death is the last enemy to be destroyed by Christ.
It is clear that in all that is put under the Father, Christ is the exception. He willingly will put Himself, as a man, under the Father so that He will bring all things, even Himself, into subjection to God the Father, that God may be all in all.
Then Christ will take His place with His bride, the Church, whom the Father has given Him, to be His companion forever in the Father's house. How wonderful! We then will have crossed the frontier from earth to heaven. In the meantime, should not this bring praise and worship to a God Who has loved us with an everlasting love!
Baptized for the dead simply means identification with those who have died in faith. We are associated with them and die daily. It might be compared to a soldier who fills in the ranks where others have died in the battle.
To deny resurrection results in letting loose the flesh and its lusts. (If "tomorrow we die," what is the use of restraining the flesh?) How far can a Christian go?
"Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame." Spiritual lethargy possessed those at Corinth who allowed their minds to contradict the truth of resurrection, which they knew.
"How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?" The seed (that is the old body) is sown, but that which comes from it is a new body as it has pleased God. The old must die in order to be quickened.
What has puzzled those who work with seeds is the fact that the seed must die in order to sprout a new plant. Life comes from God only.
A terrestrial body will fit those who will dwell on the new earth forever and will go with the environment. The heavenly inhabitants will have a celestial (spiritual) body. There are no degrees of glory, but God distributes glory as it pleases Him.
Both resurrection and its character are shown here. We will be glorified immediately upon our resurrection before we enter heaven or come before the judgment seat. Our bodies will be incorruptible, glorious vessels of power and of a spiritual character. We shall be like Christ as a man in every way.
How great, glorious, and ecstatic will be the rapture. It is "given to the Son to have life in Himself." John 5:2626For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; (John 5:26).
The first man Adam was dust. As men, we have had our part in this Adam life. When we receive Christ, the last Adam, we have our part in the Son from heaven, in His life and mode of being. As we have had the image of the earthy, we shall have the image (likeness) of the heavenly. "As in Adam all die even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Adam's race will inherit death, but Christ is the head of a spiritual, heavenly race, giving life according to the power of that life by which He quickens those who are His.
There is no place for flesh and blood in eternity. Flesh and bone will be there but no blood. The blood is the life of the flesh at present; Christ is our life for eternity.
We now have a body that is corruptible, but we shall be raised in incorruptibility in a body that cannot be corrupted. Only the body is spoken of as being corruptible in contrast to the soul and spirit.
Man will be set morally above death in his new body. Some will not die if Christ comes first. This is accomplished redemption; the final part of salvation is the redemption of the body.
In a moment, suddenly, in an instant, the dead shall rise changed and we shall be changed with them at the last trump. In the army there may be several trumpet calls of different tones. This is the last trump, the signal to march.
We may pass through death, or even deep trials here. Death is a passage into that which is eternal, and the moment we hear that shout we can say, "Grave, where is thy victory?" Through eternity we shall say, "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
The saints were encouraged to labor on because we know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.